Tag Archives: Entertaining

Lemon Blueberry Tart

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Lemon and spring are the perfect pairing.

I adore lemon- the tart, bright flavor. And lemon desserts make me swoon. This lemon tart is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EASY! If you’re not a baker, this is your dessert because it is simple.

You simply bake a store bought crust, fill it with a luscious mixture of lemon curd, lemon zest, mascarpone and powdered sugar. Then top it with blueberries. Chill and serve. Yes, it’s that easy.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s a nice addition to the Easter table.

Lemon Blueberry Tart

1 (9-inch) tart pan

1 store bought pie crust or favorite pie recipe

1 (8-ounce) container mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1 (10-ounce) jar lemon curd

½ teaspoon lemon zest

1 pint  fresh blueberries

TIP: If you want a no bake dessert, use a premade graham cracker or shortbread crust. Shortbread crusts are not as easy to find, but I prefer it over the graham cracker.

Directions:

Fill tart pan with store bought pie crust, be sure to overlap the crust around the pan because if you don’t, it will sink down while you bake it.

If you don’t have a tart pan, you could use a shallow pie pan (must be shallow).

Bake pie crust according to package directions, and be sure to pierce it repeatedly with a fork before baking.

Cool completely on the counter before filling.

For the filling, stir together mascarpone and powdered sugar, then stir in lemon curd and zest. Spread into the tart pan. Top with blueberries. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or until time to serve.

blueberry tart

   

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The Easiest Ultimate Coconut Cake

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Easter would not be Easter without coconut cake.

What am I saying? Any day is a good day for coconut cake. The problem is most recipes are time consuming or call for multiple layers, which means there’s a higher probability that something can go wrong.

I have the solution. A simple white coconut cake that is delectable! It starts with a boxed white cake and then I make it similar to a tres leches cake but I use coconut based milks instead of cow’s milk.

Tres leches translates into “three milks” and it’s a dessert usually made with sweetened condensed milk, regular milk or cream,  and evaporated milk.  The mixture is poured over a cake and the cake soaks it up. For my coconut version, I use cream of coconut (it comes in a can and is used to create pina coladas);  coconut milk (the refrigerated variety not a can), and then top the cake with homemade whipped cream.

This cake is delectable. It is best made a day in advance which is perfect because you’re not fussing with it on Easter day. It’s a sheet cake so it’s not as pretty as a layered cake, but the flavor makes up for the presentation.

The coconut milks soak into the cake overnight transforming it into a light, fluffy bite of coconut heaven.

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Coconut Tres Leches Cake

1 box vanilla cake

3 eggs

½ cup shredded sweetened coconut

1 cup water

½ cup canola

1 (15-ounce) can Coco Lopez cream of coconut

2/3 cup refrigerated coconut milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream

½ cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or coconut extract

2 cups shredded sweetened coconut

It is very important you use cream of coconut, not a can of coconut milk. Cream of coconut is thick, very sweet with a strong coconut flavor, whereas coconut milk is thinner and not sweet. Cream of coconut is the goodness that goes into a Pina Colada so sometimes you will find it next to the alcohol mixers or in a liquor store.

The recipe calls for refrigerated coconut milk, not canned. If you cannot find refrigerated variety, you can substitute whole milk or use equal parts milk and coconut coffee creamer.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat together cake, eggs,  ½ cup shredded coconut, water and oil. Pour into a greased in a 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake according to package directions.

When it has cooled, poke repeatedly with a fork and poke it all the way to the bottom.

Whisk together cream of coconut with coconut milk or plain milk. Pour over the cake.

Use an electric mixer to beat the heavy whipping cream on high speed. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and vanilla extract. Whip until mixture thickens. Then spread over the cake. Top with 2 cups shredded coconut.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours, but overnight is best.

 

Transform Boiled Eggs into Five Delicious Appetizers

 

array of toastsI am already up to my ears in boiled eggs.

In my household, we get an early start dying eggs so by the time Easter rolls around, I’ve been through three of four dozen. I have to get creative with ways to use them.

Since small bites, crostini and toast appetizers are so popular, I thought I’d transform my boiled eggs into a variety of those for Easter. You can serve these as appetizers or make them after Easter for a casual dinner.

I have several suggestions because they are so easy.

Most of these recipes were made with a loaf of pre-sliced Italian bread; I simply popped the slices in the toaster instead of using the oven. It was so quick and easy. The serving sizes assume you use an Italian loaf; a baguette would yield more portions.

If you read my column last week, you saw my deviled eggs with Yum Yum sauce. Those were so divine I wanted to transform it into an egg salad. I served it on toasted bread as an appetizer, but you can serve it as  a sandwich, too. For low carb eaters, serve it on a slice of cucumber or daikon.

I love avocado toast so that was a must on the menu. It takes half an avocado for a piece of toast so this recipe only makes two slices. I simply topped the avocado toast with chopped eggs, bacon, diced grape tomatoes and salt and pepper. It was so simple and delicious. This is a great breakfast option.

A very popular choice was the simplest recipe of all: I toasted Italian bread, smeared store bought pimento cheese dip on it, topped it with sliced eggs, salt and pepper and a sweet and spicy pickle. It was a huge hit.

Be sure to add salt and pepper to your eggs once the egg is one the bread.

Another simple recipe was one I topped with onion and chive cream cheese, sliced eggs and tomatoes, salt and pepper and drizzled it in balsamic vinegar.

Lastly, I chopped eggs, bacon and tomatoes and tossed it all in a store bought honey mustard dressing. Then I topped the toasted bread with romaine lettuce and served the egg concoction in the middle. It was fantastic.  You could make it low carb by serving it in lettuce like lettuce wraps.

Hopefully this gives you plenty of options to use your eggs this Easter.

I hope you enjoy the recipes.

egg salad appetizer

Yum Yum Egg Salad

Makes 8-10 pieces

5 large hard boiled eggs

2 green onions, sliced

1/3 cup minced celery

2 tablespoons shredded carrots

2 tablespoon chopped cilantro

½ cup Yum Yum sauce

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

¼ cup almond slivers

Mix all ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on toasted bread.

 pimento eggs

 

Pimento Toast with Sweet & Spicy Pickle

Makes 4 pieces

4 slices of French or Italian bread

Prepared pimento cheese spread

2 boiled eggs

4-8 slices of sweet and spicy pickles

Toast the bread. Peel and slice the eggs. Spread a generous amount of pimento spread on each piece of toast. Top with eggs. Add salt and pepper. Top with one or two slices of sweet and spicy pickles.

 

avocado toast

Avocado Toast with Bacon, Eggs & Tomato

Makes 2 pieces

2 slices of toasted bread

1 avocado

1/8 teaspoon cumin

Salt and pepper to taste

1 boiled egg

2-4 grape tomatoes

1 tablespoon real bacon pieces

Peel avocado and smash it with a fork. Add cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Divide it between two slices of toasted bread. Chop egg and tomatoes. Divide between avocado toast and top with bacon. Serve.

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Honey Mustard Bacon and Egg Spread

Makes 4 pieces

2 boiled eggs

5 grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons real bacon pieces

2 slices Romaine lettuce

Toast or French bread

¼ cup or more honey mustard dressing

Peel and chop eggs. Set aside. Chop tomatoes and toss with eggs and bacon. Add honey mustard dressing and toss to coat. Add more, if desired. Spread a piece of lettuce over the toasted bread. Top with egg filling and serve.

cream cheese eggs

Chive Cream Cheese Crostini with Tomato & Egg

6 slices of toasted bread

Chive & onion cream cheese

Sliced heirloom grape tomatoes

2 boiled eggs

Balsamic vinegar drizzle

Garlic salt and pepper to taste

Toast the bread and then top with a very generous smear of cream cheese. Slice the boiled eggs and divide the slices between the bread. Add sliced tomatoes. Add garlic salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle with balsamic glaze and serve.

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Deviled Eggs with Yum Yum Sauce

eggs on platterI don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner, deviled eggs made with Yum Yum sauce. Yes, you know the delicious pinkish sauce you get at Japanese steakhouses? The one you drown your shrimp in.

I’ve written a food column for more than 15 years, which means 15 years of Easter stories.  After that amount of time it’s easy to get in a rut, so this year I challenged myself to rethink deviled eggs.

And this is one of the results.

I created Asian  inspired deviled eggs that are easy and amazing. I used Yum Yum sauce for the base and skipped mayonnaise or mustard.

I topped it with wonton crisps for crunch (you can find these with salad condiments), and a little green onion. If desired, add some chopped cilantro. These are fantastic. I will definitely serve these again outside of Easter. They were my husband’s favorite, too.

As a side note, after filling the eggs I had leftover yolk mixture and spread it on a piece of toast for breakfast. It was lovely.

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This is the new deviled egg recipe to try. It’s awesome!

Asian inspired Deviled Eggs

6 large  boiled eggs

1/4 heaping cup Yum Yum sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

Wontons crisps

1 green onion

Cilantro (optional)

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Slice eggs in half, and place egg yolks in a bowl and smash with a fork until the yolks are crumbs. Then stir in Yum Yum sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.

Take a green onion and slice the green part only- don’t use the white because it will be too strong. Fill the eggs with the yolk mixture, top with wonton strips, green onion and if desired, cilantro. Serve. If you are not serving these immediately, leave off the wontons until the last minute.

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs

What’s not to love about a deviled egg?

These little snacks are easy to prepare, inexpensive, high in protein, and cool on a hot day. I love to just pop one in my mouth.

 

This deviled egg combines some of my favorite flavors, smoked salmon, capers, red onion, and horseradish with a deviled egg.. I put horseradish sauce into the yolk mixture. If you use pure horseradish, then you definitely want to scale it back. I use Woeber’s Horseradish sauce which I find is the perfect balance of heat.

Everyone has their own method for boiling eggs, and if you have one, follow yours.

I like my eggs a little firm so I place eggs in a pot covered with cold water (always use large eggs).  Make sure the eggs are in a single layer and the water is at least 1 inch above the eggs. Bring to a boil and then boil 12-14 minutes (12 will do the job).  Then immediately drain off the water,  place the pot under the tap with cold water running and add 2 cups of ice cubes to the pot. When eggs have cooled down, refrigerate until time to use.

Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon

6 large boiled eggs

3 tablespoons Miracle Whip

1 tablespoon horseradish sauce

2 tablespoons minced red onion

1 -2 ounces smoked salmon

18 capers

Slice eggs in half, and place egg yolks in a bowl and smash with a fork until the yolks are crumbs. Add the Miracle Whip, horseradish sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Top each egg with a slice of smoked salmon.  Sprinkle each egg with red onion and add 3 capers to each egg. Serve.

I made these and kept them for myself, served with a side salad for lunch. It was a high protein, low fat dish.

 

Panna Cotta with Blueberry Port Sauce and Strawberries

If you’ve only ordered panna cotta in a restaurant, you need to make this. If you can make Jello, you can do this. It’s closely related in terms of preparation.

Panna cotta is an eggless Italian custard. It’s fairly plain but is often served with a nice fruit sauce that enhances the flavor.

I created this red, white and blue sweet treat for the Fourth of July.

Since I needed something blue for my theme, I decided to make a blueberry port sauce to pour over and it’s wonderful. Strawberries add a touch of red and texture.  It’s very nice.

For the photos, I styled my panna cotta two ways: in a champagne flute, which is beautiful; and then in a star glass dish that I bought from Dollar Tree.

 

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You can also serve them in ramekins which is more traditional.

It’s simple and perfect for a couple or small family because there’s only five servings. Enjoy!

Panna Cotta with Blueberry Port Sauce and Strawberries

Makes 5 servings

1/2 cup whole milk

1 ½ envelopes (.25 ounces each) unflavored gelatin

2 cups of heavy whipping cream (1 pint)

½ cup sugar

1 vanilla bean

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sauce:

1 pint blueberries

¼ cup water

¼ cup sugar

3 tablespoons port

1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries

For the panna cotta: place whole milk in a bowl and sprinkle gelatin over it. Set aside for 3 minutes.

Slice the vanilla bean in half and scrape the tiny seeds inside into a heavy bottomed pot. The seeds contain the vanilla flavor. Next add the heavy cream and sugar and heat it over medium or medium-low heat. You don’t want to rush it because you don’t want the cream to curdle. Stir until sugar is dissolved.

Then pour the gelatin/milk mixture into the cream. Stir until gelatin is dissolved which takes about 3 minutes.

When it’s done, turn off the heat and add the vanilla extract.

Pour ½ cup of mixture into ramekins or champagne glasses, whatever you plan to use to serve the dish.  Refrigerate for 4 hours.

For the port sauce, heat blueberries, water and sugar in a small pan over medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes until sugar is dissolved and mixture thickens. When it’s done, stir in the port.   For a mild port flavor, use 2 tablespoons. If you want more pronounced flavor, add 3 or even 4. I used Taylor Port which is readily available, inexpensive and works wells in this recipe.

Refrigerate the port sauce until it’s time to use. Note, you can also serve the port sauce warm but if you decide to do this make it right before serving.

Before serving, top each panna cotta with blueberry port sauce and fresh strawberries.

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Lighter Artichoke Dip- 1,000 calories and 100 grams of fat lighter! But still delicious!

I adore bubbly, gooey delicious artichoke dip slathered on French bread.

It’s my weakness at any party. And  I make an incredible version but it is so unhealthy- it contains 1 cup of mayonnaise and 3 cups of cheese.

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I knew my recipe was unhealthy but had no idea how bad it was until recently when I wrote a food column about it ran the ingredients through a database and my jaw dropped: it contains 2,092 calories and 203 grams of fat.

Ouch. I calculated for the entire dish instead of per serving because you never know how much people will eat.

I’m determined not to gain weight this holiday season and that means that dip is out. I am at an age where weight doesn’t come off like it used to so I am going to be more careful which means revamping some of my favorite recipes.

So I lightened up the dip and the results were AMAZING. AMAZING. I am so proud of it. I can’t believe it saves that many calories and that much fat and still tastes this fantastic. Look how gooey it still is

artichoke cheese

.   Just by switching from artichokes packed in oil to canned ones packed in water, I saved 36 grams of fat. Then, I used light mayonnaise which slashed 39 grams of fat and 460 calories. I cut out 1 ¼ cups of cheese, too. Whenever you remove fat, you have to add extra flavor so I sprinkled it with Italian seasoning, garlic powder and garlic salt. Also, I used Parmesan because that’s a flavorful cheese.  The new dip has 1,130 calories for the entire dish which is made in a pie pan and 84 grams of fat (that’s 119 grams less of fat).

 

 

I hope you enjoy it.

Light Artichoke Dip

1 (14.5-ounce) can artichoke hearts in water, thoroughly drained and patted dry

2/3 cup Duke’s light mayonnaise (or your favorite brand)

1 cup part skim mozzarella cheese

¾ cup shredded Parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ heaping teaspoon Italian seasoning

¼ teaspoon garlic salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the first five ingredients until combined. Place in a shallow pie pan. Top with Italian seasoning and garlic salt. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Serve warm with French bread or crackers.

artichoke dip on crackers